Meet the Newest Batch of Home Cooks For ‘MasterChef’

Host and award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, world-renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi and James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Aarón Sánchez welcome 40 of the nation’s best home cooks to the MASTERCHEF kitchen on the Season Eight premiere of MASTERCHEF, airing Wednesday, May 31 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
In the season premiere, the Top 40 travel to Los Angeles to compete in the Battle for a White Apron challenge, during which only 20 will move forward in the contest for the MASTERCHEF title, a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize.
Hopefuls auditioned at MASTERCHEF’s open casting calls in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Oklahoma City, OK; Orlando, FL;  Portland, OR; San Diego, CA;  San Francisco, CA; and Washington D.C. to prove they have the culinary skills to be the next MASTERCHEF. Only one talented home cook will join MASTERCHEF winners Shaun O’Neale (Season Seven), Claudia Sandoval (Season Six), Courtney Lapresi (Season Five); Luca Manfe (Season Four); Christine Ha (Season Three), the first-ever blind contestant; Jennifer Behm (Season Two); and Whitney Miller (Season One) in the elite group of MASTERCHEF titleholders.
This season features 40 contestants from all walks of life, representing 18 states – including a debt collector, dentist, PE teacher, Harvard student, swimsuit model and two ministers – all with the hopes of turning their culinary dreams into reality.
Below are the hometowns, names and professions of the Top 40 Home Cooks who will participate in the MASTERCHEF Battle for a White Apron:
California       
Pacific Beach – Lauren Lawless, Sales Rep
Redding – Brien O’Brien, Magazine Ad Sales
Florida 
Clearwater – Paola Annoni Patel, Dentist
Miami – Heather Dombrosky, Registered Nurse
Land O’Lakes – Danny Flores, Steel Supplier
Tampa – Jeff Philbin, Marketing Director
Hawaii
Honolulu – Paige Jimenez, Swimsuit Model
Pahoa – Tom Ward, Draftsman
Illinois       
Chicago – Caitlin Meade, Nutritionist; Eboni Henry, Addiction Counselor
Louisiana         
Chalmette – Jennifer Williams, Debt Collector
New Orleans – Janice Scott, Tour Guide; Kelseay Reed, Events Planner
Vacherie – Lesci Oubre, Phys. Ed. Teacher
Massachusetts
Cambridge – Adam Wong, Harvard Student
Medford – Daniel Pontes-Macedo, Substitute Teacher
Newton – Jason Wang, High School Music Teacher
Springfield – David Smith, Wedding Singer
Michigan       
Ann Arbor – Julia Huldin, Food Truck Promoter
Detroit – Yachecia Holston, Minister
New Jersey       
North Arlington – Michael Lertchitvikul, Former Startup COO
New York       
Bensonhurst – Dino Luciano Ignacio, Dancer
Brooklyn – Mia Rivera, Grocery Clerk
Ohio
Cincinnati – Jenny Cavellier Special Needs Therapist; Josh Cooper, Political Consultant
Oklahoma
Oklahoma City – Gabriel Lewis, Fast Food Server; Ty Hamilton, Model
Oregon
Myrtle Beach – Shasta Dring, Bartender
Portland – Mark Togni, Stay-at-home Dad
Pennsylvania        
Pittsburgh – Caitlin Jones, Dancer
Puerto Rico        
Carolina – Nilka Barbosa, Human Resources
South Carolina       
Newberry – Necco Ceresani, Marketing Manager
Texas       
Austin – Taylor Waltmon, Digital Marketer
Carthage – Reba Billingsley, Stay-at-home Mom
Lipan – Mike Newton, Ranch Owner
Virginia       
Alexandria – Aakash Trivedi, Client Manager
Washington         
Yakima – Shawn Niles, Pastor
Washington, D.C.
Angel Anderson, Spice Store Owner; Jessica Heath, Former Model; Sam Reiff-Pasarew, Creative Writing Teacher
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